Music and transferable skills

Two of the country's top musicologists explained the multiple benefits of studying Music at university to a group of Year 12 boys.

Dr Berta Joncus, head of the Music Department at Goldsmiths, University of London (pictured left), and Dr Barley Norton, a senior lecturer and ethnomusicologist at Goldsmiths, encouraged the boys, who are all studying A-level Music, to consider not only the direct benefits of studying Music, but also to reflect on the transferable skills that are acquired.

“When you follow the MMus programme you will develop intellectual and transferable skills of value to employers,” said Dr Joncus. “Many elements of the programme require a high degree of self-motivation and initiative in planning and implementing tasks, and managing of a personal schedule of learning. You develop your capacity to organise, articulate and present ideas in a systematic and professional manner”.

She added: “The programme offers many opportunities for students to work cooperatively, effectively and creatively together, employ social skills in the conduct of research when appropriate, and develop effective skills of communication.”

The two academics were accompanied by a current undergraduate Music student, who gave the boys a brief introduction to the Music department of Goldsmiths and offered insight into the kind of study they could expect to encounter at university level. 

“This was a very positive experience for our boys, who were able to contribute to discussions and who displayed impressive thinking skills,” said Music teacher Rebecca Lancelot. “They now have a clearer understanding of what is on offer to them at undergraduate level if they wish to pursue their study of Music beyond the Sixth Form.”

In addition to her post at Goldsmiths, Dr Berta Joncus is also a Research Associate of the Faculty of Music at Oxford University. Her previous positions include editor at the New Grove Dictionary of Music, working with the dictionary’s editor, the late Stanley Sadie. She took her MA at the University of Bonn, Germany, and worked earlier as a professional singer after finishing a performance degree at the Franz Schubert Conservatory of Vienna. She is also a regular contributor on BBC Radio 3.

Dr Barley Norton studied Music at City University and completed MMus and PhD degrees in ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies.  Prior to joining Goldsmiths, he was Principal Lecturer in Music at Roehampton University, where he was director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research.